1. ITV Report

Memorial for South African miners overshadowed by bitter politics

Miners in Marikana gestured as they prayed during the one-year anniversary commemorations to mark the killings. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Bitter political squabbles have cast a shadow over the memorial of South Africa's blackest post-apartheid day as thousands of miners marked the death of 34 of their colleagues, who were killed by police fire during strike action a year ago.

President Jacob Zuma's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party refused to attend the year anniversary and were subsequently attacked by their opponents, who hit out at the "murderous government" at Lonmin's Marikana site.

ITV News Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports:

Seats reserved for cabinet ministers remained pointedly empty at the memorial of the mass shooting, which was the deadliest incident of its kind since white-minority rule ended in 1994.

Mr Zuma has been accused of mis-handling labour unrest in the country and of failing to tackle South Africa's widespread poverty and unemployment.

Addressing the vast crowd, former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema told the president and his party: "You've got blood on your hands!"

Jacob Zuma met with injured miners a year ago but attended a summit instead of the anniversary memorial. Credit: Reuters/Kopano Tlape

He said Mr Zuma, who had flown to a regional summit in neighbouring Malawi rather than attend the memorial, had failed to take responsibility for the miners deaths.

A spokesman for the ANC accused rivals of "taking advantage of a tragedy for their own political benefit".

Amnesty has accused the South African government of making too little progress with an inquiry into the mines violence.